Chinese fringe flowers are evergreen shrubs that are most well-known for their delicate, fragrant flowers that appear every spring. Aside from their gorgeous flowers, the foliage of Chinese fringe flowers is also of interest, changing colors throughout the year from hues of red to deep green. Native to China, Japan, and the Himalayas, these showy shrubs have become widely popular thanks to their year-round interest and ease of care. Chinese fringe flowers are also great privacy shrubs and can be successfully used for hedging or topiaries.
Plant Chinese fringe flower in the spring or fall. It is a medium to fast grower, adding about 1 to 2 feet per year.
|Common Name||Chinese fringe flower, Chinese witch hazel|
|Botanical Name||Loropetalum chinense|
|Mature Size||10-15 ft. tall and wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full, partial|
|Flower Color||Pink, red, white|
|Hardiness Zones||7-9 (USDA)|
Chinese Fringe Flower Care
Chinese fringe flowers are considered to be low-maintenance, hardy shrubs. These relatives of the witch-hazel are adaptable to a wide range of light, soil, and moisture conditions.
The shrub remains evergreen in warm regions and is deciduous in regions with colder winters. It is easy to care for with few pest and disease problems.
Grow Chinese fringe flowers in a bright, sunny location that receives partial shade throughout the day. Ideally, these shrubs are protected from intense midday rays but receive dappled morning sun. However, they can tolerate growing in sunny to part-shady conditions.
Chinese fringe flowers require well-draining, acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. A soil pH between 4.5 to 6.5 is best. To help retain moisture and suppress weeds, mulch around the root ball of a Chinese fringe flower shrub with 2 to 3 inches of compost, straw, or aged wood chips.
Once established, Chinese fringe flowers are relatively drought tolerant. However, they grow best when the soil is kept consistently moist. During periods of extreme heat or abnormally long dry spells, Chinese fringe flowers should be watered more frequently
Temperature and Humidity
Chinese fringe flowers grow best in USDA zones 7 to 9, tolerating winter temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). However, in regions that experience cold winters, it is recommended that Chinese fringe flowers are planted in areas that protect them from cold winter winds.
If they are planted in the right soil, Chinese fringe flowers require little to no supplemental fertilizer once they are established. If desired, established they can benefit from annual fertilizing in early spring with a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer, or one that is specially formulated for flowering shrubs.
However, Chinese fringe flowers that are planted in soil that is nutrient-poor will require additional feeding. Amend the soil regularly with organic matter such as compost, or well-aged manure.
Types of Chinese Fringe Flower
There are many different varieties of Chinese fringe flowers. Popular varieties include:
- L. chinense var. rubrum, a variety with reddish-purple leaves and pink to red flowers
- L. chinense var. rubrum 'Burgundy’ , a cultivar with reddish-purple leaves and pink flowers
- L. chinense ‘Pizazz’, a trademarked cultivar with burgundy foliage and pink flowers
- L. chinense ‘Carolina Moonlight’, a large shrub with glossy, dark burgundy leaves and fuchsia-colored flowers
- L. chinense ‘Snow Dance’, a compact shrub with white flowers
- L. chinense ‘Emerald Snow’, a trademarked dwarf cultivar with white flowers
The shrub can be pruned for hedging but pruning other than dead or diseased branches is optional, as it natural shape is quite attractive. If you decide to prune it, make sure to wait until after the bloom because Chinese fringe flower blooms on old wood and you risk accidentally removing flower buds if you prune it early in the spring.
Propagating Chinese Fringe Flowers
Chinese fringe flowers can be propagated by softwood cuttings, with the exception of trademarked cultivars whose propagation is prohibited by law.
- Take 6-inch cuttings of softwood growth in the spring or summer.
- Remove the leaves on the bottom 2-3 inches of each cutting, ensuring that at least 2-3 leaves are left on the top.
- Dip the bottom of the cuttings in a rooting hormone and plant them in a potting mix.
- Place the cuttings in plastic bags that are large enough to not touch the cuttings. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Within 4 to 6 weeks the cuttings should develop roots, although they should not be planted in the garden until the following growing season.
How to Grow Chinese Fringe Flower From Seeds
Most Chinese fringe flowers are cultivars and propagating them from seed does not produce a plant true to the parent so propagation from seed is not recommended.
Potting and Repotting
If you would like to grow Chinese fringe flower in a container, it is best to choose a dwarf or compact variety. Select a container with large drainage holes and fill it with well-draining potting mix. Container-grown plants need more frequent watering than shrubs planted in garden soil so adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
Repot the plant in a larger container when the roots fill the pot, or grow out of the drainage holes.
The shrub does not require any winter protection, unless it is grown in a container. To protection the roots from winter freezes in colder climate zones, wrap the container in burlap and bubble wrap, or place it inside an insulating silo.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Chinese fringe flowers are not especially susceptible to any pests or diseases, however, they can fall victim to common pests such as spider mites, and diseases such as anthracnose, mildew, or root rot.
Bacterial gall is a serious condition that spreads in warm, wet weather. If you find galls or calloused areas on your plant, it could be bacterial gall, and you should remove the entire plant because there is not cure and the fungus will spread to other plants in your landscape.
How to Get Chinese Fringe Flower to Bloom
If the plant isn't blooming, it is likely that is it not getting enough sunlight. While it can grow in partial shade, it can affect the bloom. Inspect the surroundings to see if you can prune shrubs or trees nearby to give it more sun.
Common Problems with Chinese Fringe Flower
Generally there are no common problems with Chinese fringe flower. Some cultivars are prone to copper deficiency, which manifests itself as small, distorted leaves that later become crumbled or dry out. This can be treated by applying a copper spray fertilizer, which is different from copper spray as a fungicide.
It Chinese fringe flower toxic?
It is not listed as a toxic plant.
Is Chinese fringe flower invasive?
Although it is an introduced species from Asia and not native to North America, it is not considered an invasive plant.
How long does Chinese fringe bloom?
The gorgeous blooms of Chinese fringe flowers appear in mid-spring, but healthy shrubs can rebloom intermittently throughout the growing season.
These shrubs are extremely tolerant of heavy pruning, and many gardeners use them for hedging or topiaries. However, Chinese fringe flowers do not require this type of pruning, and they grow into a naturally graceful shape that many appreciate. The flowers of this adaptable shrub bloom on old wood, so when pruning Chinese fringe flowers it is best to wait until after the blooming period in the summer to early fall.